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Pre front fishing at it's best. Spring has sprung!

Capt. Rob Modys
May 6, 2016
Fort Myers - Saltwater Fishing Report

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Another run of beautiful weather will greet anglers over the coming week and that should only help to carry over from the week before. Fishing has been very good with access to just about any species anglers might be after. Bait schools are getting larger and more abundant and the new moon tide will push them toward the beaches.

Capt. Greg Stamper of Snook Stamp Charters said that a few beautiful days this past week gave all kinds of fishing options. The Thursday and Friday morning tides were rather slow and that made things a bit tough, however the afternoon tides got things going. Redfishing was gradually getting better as we found active fish from Sanibel all the way up to the northern end of the Sound. Snook have definitely gotten hungry and when you have pilchards you'll definitely catch a few. Most snook were caught while targeting docks and the edges of flats during good moving water. Seatrout seem happy right now with fish up to 25 inches being caught. They were hitting artificial shrimp rigged weedless, both along shorelines with slightly deeper edges and on the grass flats in 3 to 5 feet of water. The passes continue to hold all kinds of action, including some nice pompano.

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Capt. Kevin Bellington of Sea Gone Charters fished the backwaters around Caxambas Pass with Murray Goldman and his brother-in-law Allen. Severe weather was on schedule for the day they were fishing so the group kept an eye on the sky. They fished a strong incoming tide and did very well fishing in front of the approaching cold front. Using 1/4 ounce weights they were able to get live shrimp to the bottom and then let the current move the offerings into the ambush areas. A nice mix of fish included 4 sheepshead, 1 keeper sized mangrove snapper and a couple of 20 plus inch seatrout. They also kept the rods bent with a few big jacks.

Capt. Jon Fetter of Catching The Cure Charters said that fishing was a bit tough in the back bays over the past week. Tides weren't the best but that should improve this week. A good seatrout bite on the grass flats, in 3-5 feet of water, was a plus. Shrimp under popping corks worked best. Redfish were being caught around the oyster bars while using cut ladyfish for bait. Working the high water produced some quality fish. There are a still a few sheepshead hanging around the oyster areas and mangrove islands. A shrimp tipped jig head will get their attention. Tarpon are biting in the Sanibel and Captiva Island areas. Drift through the schools with free lined threadfin herrings or pass crabs.

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Capt. Larry Hendricks of Tall Tails Charters said that just about everything that swims is biting right now. Tarpon, cobia, sharks, seatrout, redfish, snook and spanish mackerel are at the top of the list, along with jacks, ladyfish and tripletail. Bait on the flats continues to be hard to get on a consistent basis. Timing is everything and don't leave home without a lot of chum. The magical bait getting time seems to be between 6:15 and 7:00AM. After that you can still get pinfish and threads but the pilchards seem to scatter. Shrimp has become a staple and the fish don't seem to mind a bit. It fooled several nice reds, a snook and a tripletail this past week. Tarpon are seemingly everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. Schools move from day to day and anglers need to be willing to put in the time. Crabs and threadfin herrings suspended under a float and drifted with the tide works well. Offshore reefs are giving up some dandy mangrove snapper along with king mackerel. Catch and release gag grouper have also been the norm. 

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Capt. Brad Brown of Moonlite Charters noted that the white butterflies have shown up along the beaches and that means it's tarpon time! It's also time to get out there on the water and chase silver kings. Capt. Brad said the best bet was drifting with live threadfin herrings on a large circle hook of choice. Most anglers go with 5/0 to 7/0. If the winds are up in the Gulf be sure to hit the back waters. Estero Bay has poons in the early morning near Weeks Fish Camp and the inside of Pine Island Sound is also good near Redfish Pass.

Capt. Sam Acure of Team Arcure Fishing has been targeting redfish this past week. The go-to setup was a 1/4 ounce jig head with a large or jumbo hand picked shrimp. The key is to keep the bait as close to the mangrove islands or oyster bars for as long as possible. If there is a lot of grass float the bait over that area to avoid the pesky pinfish. Sometimes it helps to work mangrove shorelines by casting the baits with floats, popping them a few times and then waiting for a strike. Don't be disappointed if mangrove snapper are biting. They are a good indicator that redfish are around. The best mangrove shorelines are the ones that have deep water and some oyster mounds.  

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